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Hey sex fans,

Listen up!

I’m adding this new feature to my Q&A columns.  Whenever possible, I will include in my response a link to a movie in my HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY (see the VOD tab at the top of the page?) that will further educate or enrich the person who is asking the question.

Think of it as at HOMEWORK or further study on the topic at hand.  I hope all of you will benefit from this terrific instructional and enriching resource.  (Click on the images below for viewing information.)

Name: Spencer
Gender:
Age: 37
Location: Ottawa
I am very interested in learning more about prostate massage and milking techniques.  Are you familiar with these things?  Thank you.

I am very familiar with both prostate massage and the fetish commonly known as milking.

But let’s begin with prostate massage, because it is something every guy can practice and enjoy.  I a53342_xlfrecommend all us men folk be prostate aware.  You know I’m a big advocate of frequent prostate self-exam, right?  And I figure while you’re down there rootin’ around in your butt-hole checking for abnormalities, hey spend a little more time and give yourself a nice massage why don’t ‘cha?  Fingers work just fine for this, but an insertable vibrator is…well…out of this world.  Prostate massage is a wonderful way to expand your self-pleasuring repertoire, especially for all you guys out there who only know how to yank on their dick for joy.  And ladies, prostate massage is a great way to play with your male partners.  Perhaps if you signal to your guy that a little butt play can be fun, more straight guys will be less ass-phobic and the world will be a much better place, don’t cha know.

You can feel your prostate gland by inserting a finger a couple of inches or so into your bum.  If you are the least bit aroused your prostate will feel like a smooth rounded flat lump about the size of a large almond. Just in back of and up from your prostate is a smaller triangular wedge shaped nodule that is the bottom portion of your somewhat larger seminal vesicles.  This, by the way, is where most of your jizz is produced and stored. Underneath the seminal vesicles are the ampullae, which are tiny reservoirs for your sperm that will mix with all the other fluids produced by the vesicles and your prostate when you cum.

a73296_xlfAs you become aroused, ejaculatory fluid and sperm accumulate in these glands backing up behind valves in the ejaculatory ducts. When the fluid pressure reaches a high enough threshold, the valves open and the urethral bulb fills, triggering the muscular contractions of your ejaculation.  This empties the glands and you’ve just shot your wad.

Naturally, if one abstains from ejaculating for a while and prolongs his arousal stage, say like through edging, more fluids will build up, making for a larger load and a more explosive orgasm.

So with that little anatomy lesson behind us, so to speak, we can get back to prostate massage.  Simply insert your well-lubricated middle finger or middle finger and index finger into your butt hole and apply a little pressure.  Slowly massage your prostate.  Doesn’t that feel yummy?  Some men can cum by prostate massage alone.  Hell, you may find that you don’t even need a stiff dick to enjoy an orgasm and/or an ejaculation.

a83370_xlfNow to kink things up a bit we introduce the fetish called milking.  This is mostly a partnered — dom/sub, bondage/discipline — sort of deal.  But a guy can certainly do it on his own if he’d like.  Basically, the object here is to drain and collect the spunk produced.  How it’s collected?  Well that’s is up for grabs.  Ya see there are a zillion variations on the milking theme.  Some practitioners deny the donor the pleasure of an orgasm while collecting his jizz.  Ice packs are placed on a guy’s cock and balls before milking begins.  The spooge will flow through prostate massage and masturbation, but there won’t be much feeling for the donor.

Another interesting twist on milking is to completely restrain and blindfold the donor.  This may include a little (or a lot) of cock and ball torture (CBT) during the milking sessions.  There are even milking machines available, not unlike the contraptions that milk a mother’s breast, for the medical fetishists among us.

There are sadists who revel in denying the donor any sexual release except for his milking sessions.  This is where a male chastity belt will come in mighty handy.  A guy will still need to a71598_xlfhave his balls drained, so to speak, every few weeks in order to avoid him losing his joy juice in a wet dream or when he takes a piss. But with regular prostate milkings, a dude can be deprived of orgasmic release for a long time with no harmful effects.

Those going for volume rather than frequency practice what is known as cum control, which takes edging to a whole new level.   Their objective is to go as long as possible without triggering an orgasm or a wet dream.  Since the pressure of fluid buildup increases with each arousal, the urgency to have an ejaculation also increases.  To deny himself the release is, for some, exquisitely painful.

If you’re still looking for more information on all of this, search them interweb tubes for key words like:  Semen Worship / Orgasm Control / Cum Control / Milking / Edging / Chastity and Cock and Ball Torture.

Name: Shelly
Gender:
Age: 21
Location: Atlanta
How come men are seen as ‘studs’ and women as ‘sluts’ for doing the same things.

Basically darling, that’s because our culture is pretty fucked up — sexually, and in so many other was too.

Despite the progress we’ve made over the last 50 years to liberate ourselves from suffocating 5Blit2oaSplgn264lJN97XCpo1_400sex-role stereotyping and culturally induced gender expectations, we are nowhere near being free and clear of all that crap.

Changing societal attitudes about sex begins with each one of us carving out our own healthy place to celebrate our sexuality.  Carving out that place means we don’t tolerate this or any other kind of double standard bullshit from those around us.  It’s tough standing against the tide of sexual bigotry, but it will make you strong and proud.  Banding together with other like-minded people for support and encouragement is also important.

The biggest danger, of course, is that young, sexually progressive women will, in time, cave to the pressure to conform.  They will begin to internalize the madonna/whore dichotomy that has plagued all of us for millennia and pass it on to yet another generation of vulnerable women.  The risk is always there; so vigilance is the only response.

And all you guys out there who think that this double standard is the way things oughta be.  Think again!  You are not a stud if you cheapen your sexual partners by degrading them; you’re just an asshole.

Name: Brianna
Gender:
Age: 30
Location: San Diego
I’ve been so disturbed about the increasing number of recalled Chinese made products lately — dog food, toothpaste, children’s toys and the like — that I was horrified to discover that most of my sex toys are made in China.  I suppose this is a dumb time to ask, but how safe are sex toys?

That is a real good question, Brianna.  Ya know there was a time when I thought that the greatest hazard to the ardent sex toy consumer was simply all the poorly designed and cheaply a2458_xlfmanufactured crap that floods the marketplace.  But in light of the alarming news of recent months about the safety risks of many products coming from China, I think there is room for concern about the safety of Chinese made sex toys.

I hasten to add that not all Chinese imports are dangerous.  Nor are all products grown or manufactured in the US safe.  But there is a long history of unscrupulous Western companies exploiting the Chinese labor force.  This greed and abuse leads to a dangerous mix that often has dire consequences.

Obviously there is no government regulatory agency out there with a mandate to protect us from unsafe or unhealthful sex toys.  Of course, one can make the case that even when there is a government regulatory agency with a mandate to protect us, and our pets, from unsafe, tainted or unhealthy food, drugs and other consumables they’re not doing a particularly good job.

The sex toy industry does an equally piss-poor job of regulating itself.  No surprise there, I suppose.  Profit motives seem to trump all other considerations.  And since there is virtually no scientific data on sex toy safety the responsibility for keeping ourselves safe falls to us, the consumer.  It’s up to us to positively impact the market.  We can begin by taking some responsibility for what we consume.  We can go GREEN with our sex toys, so to speak.  We could patronize only the retailers that provide fair and balanced product reviews.  We could refrain from buying on impulse or being swayed by slick smutty packaging.  We could avoid excess packaging that only winds up in a landfill.

We could avoid doing business with sex toy retailers who continue to peddle products with by unsubstantiated claims.  Herbal supplements that promise to grow a guy’s dick bigger or enhance his sexual performance.  Or those patches, pills and lubricating oils that are supposed to boost a chick’s desire.  It’s not like there aren’t good products out there, it’s just that we have to do our research before we buy.  Check out some of the great Product Review Sites too — Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Reviews, Jane’s Guide or Hey Epiphora.

a122441_xlfWe could protect ourselves by insisting our toys be manufactured by people who have access to sex information, education and contraception for themselves.  If our purchases support repressive governments who abuse their people we are complicit in the repression.  Imagine our dildos, vibrators and fetish gear being manufactured by people who will never be able to enjoy a happy, healthy integrated sex life because of gender inequity or poverty.  That sucks, huh?

We can also protect ourselves by patronizing responsible and ethical sex toy retailers.  These include my very own Dr Dick’s Stockroom, Good Vibrations, Babeland and Eden Fantasys.  These retailers have excellent customer service departments and well as educational components to outreach.  They’re also terrific resources for all your sex toy related questions.

There have been a lot of unsubstantiated claims made of late that there is a potential danger in all sex toys.  Some insist that most sex toys contain cancer-causing ingredients. While I won’t go that far, there are some things to be concerned about.  For example, many soft rubber toys are made using phthalates, which have been linked to environmental and human health issues. Phthalates (pronounced “thall-eights”) are a chemical compound used to soften hard plastics into soft rubbery and jelly-like toys. I also recommend that you avoid toys with artificial scent and dyes.  They’ve been known to trigger allergic reactions in some people.

I believe that if you buy quality you are more likely to get quality.  Consider hypoallergenic materials, such as silicone, wood, glass and aluminum.  They are more expensive, but worth it.   Then again, you could always use a condom on any insertable, or less expensive toy of questionable material.  The problem with this is, condoms are not biodegradable and they’re expensive.  By the time you factor in the cost of condoms for every toy use, you’ll actually be spending more per diddle than if you bought quality from the get-go.

Remember the more information you have, the wiser a consumer you will be.

Good luck ya’ll

fitzsimmons_AZdailystar

Cum All Ye Faithful

Look for my new

Product Reviews!

REVIEW #26

Hey sex fans,

Holy cow!  It’s Week 2 of our Holiday Extravaganza.  Did you somehow miss Week 1 of this amazing panoply?  Shame on you!  Check out REVIEW #25 if ya did.

As you know, the Dr Dick Review Crew is throwing our product review apparatus into high gear.  We want to get as many reviews out there as possible before the end of the year.  We certainly don’t want to leave you hanging…as to what is hot and juicy in the holiday gift giving department, don’t cha know.

This week’s Review Crew include:

  • Tag — First Posted Review
  • Me, Dr Dick — Reviews #1 – 5, 7 – 10, 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, 25
  • Angie — Reviews #12, 16
  • Christa — First Posted Review

First up is Tag, who introduces us to two glass dildos from Don Wands — The Cobalt Blue Smooth Vibrating Glass Wand and the Pink Nubby Rocket.
Cobalt Blue Smooth Vibrating Glass Wand $79.99

My name is Tag and this is my first published outing with the Dr Dick Review Crew. Dr Dick and I go way back, but that’s another story all together.

cobalt.jpg

The Cobalt Blue Smooth Vibrating Glass Wand is waterproof and like all glass dildos it’s hypo-allergenic, nonporous, ultra-smooth and very durable. I really appreciated the fact that the first set of batteries (2 AA’s) were included in the package. There’s nothing I hate more than bringing home a battery-operated toy only to discover that the batteries are not included. There oughta be a law against that!

Anyhow, I’m no stranger to glass insertables. In fact, I have an absolutely stunning one that DD gave me last spring. It’s hard (no pun intended) not to make a comparison between the first one and these two. But before we get to that, let’s evaluate the two Don Wands glass dildos on their own merits.

Read more of this review here

Pink Nubby Rocket $29.99pink.jpg

Tag: I almost got myself off with ‘Big Blue’, when I happened to look over and see the slightly more petite pink puppy waiting to take me for a ride. I carefully released my grip on ‘Big Blue’, clamped down to stem the tide of my building orgasm and turned my attention to the Pink Nubby Rocket.

Actually Pink Nubby Rocket isn’t so little. Approximately 7 ” in length and 1″ in diameter; this rose-colored dong features a nicely curved shaft with a whole lot of nubbies. It has a nice base to hold on to for pumping in and out and directing the head to your P-spot (or G-spot).

Read more of this review here

Next, Angie and I introduce three delicious products from the oh so creative people at Earthly Body — A Massage Body Candle — Naked in the Woods, an Edible Candle — Watermelon and an Aromatherapy Candle — Melt Away.

Aromatherapy Earthly Body Candle — Melt Away 6 oz. $15.99

One of the best things about being Dr Dick is sharing the bounteous melt-away-hi-res.jpgproducts sent to me for review with my Review Crew.  It’s like bein’ friggin’ Santa Claus all year long.  Despite my exceptionally big heart there are always some pangs of envy as I see a product I covet go off to a new home in the hot little hands of one of my posse.  Generosity is so bittersweet.

I had the damnedest time trying to choose among these Earthly Body products.  Each one is a mini treasure.  But since I am an avid practitioner of massage and bodywork I chose the Aromatherapy Earthly Body Candle — Melt Away as my keeper…

Read more of this review here

Heart-Shaped Massage Body Candle — Naked in the Woods 6 oz. $15.99

Edible Candle — Watermelon 4 oz. $15.99

Angie: I couldn’t agree more with the Dr D! I was thrilled when asked to round-massage-med-res.jpgreview these two candles — the Heart-Shaped Massage Body Candle — Naked in the Woods and the Edible Candle — Watermelon. They are scrumptious.

I have very sensitive skin, so I have to be very careful what products I use. Initially, I was concerned that fragranced products, like these, would not sit well on my skin. So I decided to visit the Earthly Body website and do some homework before my first use. I was delighted to learn that all their products are vegan and nontoxic.

My first use was right after my bath. I lit a candle, which fragranced the room while I enjoyed my bath. Naked in the Woods has a light earthy sent with just a hint of pine. the Edible Candle — Watermelon is…well all edible-watermelon-candle-hi-res.jpgwatermelon-y. Is there such a word? Depending on my mood, I had a choice between earthy and fruity. By the time if finished my bath, there was enough liquefied oil to generously moisturize my legs. This is a much finer oil than what I usually use, so much more silky.

Read more of this review here

And now for something completely different!  Our next line of products will be introduced by a newcomer to the Review Crew — Christa.

Here’s the thing.  The exceptionally irreverent and downright blasphemous folks are Divine Interventions have cum up with a line of exquisite silicone insertables.  You say; “Ok Dr Dick, we loves us some silicone dildos!”  Yeah, everyone on the Review Crew said the same thing.

But not so fast, since these remarkable insertables are fashioned in a most unorthodox manner (to say the least) no crew member had the audacity to take them on.  That is until Joy turned me on to her 20-something goth-chick pal, Christa.  She was like totally down with the whole sacrilegious concept, as you will see.

Diving Nun $59

Christa here!  I can’t believe that you’re just gonna fork over three totally nun.jpgbitchin’, top of the line, high-grade silicone toys, like for free.  And the fact that these babies skewer the whole religion thing makes ‘em even hotter.
So ok, I can see where these are not for everyone.  People are so fuckin’ uptight about shit like this.  But like I said, that only makes them more of a turn on for me.

Take the Diving Nun for instance.  This is a no nonsense dong, 7-3/4” tall with a 1-3/4” diameter.  This will fill you up.  It comes in lots of hot colors.  Mine is appropriately virgin Mary blue.  What’s so great about this particular dildo is that it has a suction base.  It’ll stick to the floor, if you’re takin it up the ass or to the wall if you wanna hands-free pussy-fuck yourself.  Now, that’s what I call versatile!  I had my way with this thing in the shower the other day and I’m still walkin’ funny today…

Read more of this review here

Baby Jesus Butt Plug $35baby.jpg

I saved the Baby Jesus Butt Plug for my sub, butt-boy BF, Alex.  He is like this total ass whore.  I was the first girlfriend he ever had that fingered his hole and played with his prostate.  Now it’s ‘fuck me, fuck me, fuck me’ all the time.  This butt plug is perfect for keeping him stuffed and horny so that he gets me off a bunch of times before he does himself.  And I can just lay back and enjoy.  If you have an ass-hungry man in your life, or you are ass-hungry yourself and you’d get off even more by shovin’ an icon where the sun don’t shine; this is the plug for you…

Read more of this review here

Jackhammer Jesus $65jack.jpg

The ultimate in blasphemy!  Ever get in the mood to go like all Linda Blair in the Exorcist?  Frankly I hadn’t ever thought about it till I discovered that my Jackhammer Jesus is a silicone crucifix with a beautiful dickhead at the foot of the cross. Then all manner of wickedness crossed (no pun intended) my mind.

This beauty rivals the Diving Nun in size, 7-1/2” tall by 1-3/4” diameter. It’s not as versatile as the Nun, because it doesn’t have a suction base.  But Jackhammer Jesus is even more twisted…

Read more of this review here

Cum Together, Right Now!

9 Things You Don’t Know About the Mighty Foreskin

By Anna Lynn

Foreskin Hug

Takeaway:Foreskin is pretty fascinating stuff.

Crewneck or turtleneck? As you might have guessed, we aren’t talking about fashion, we’re talking about foreskin. And while nearly 80% of men in the United States are foreskin-free, in the rest of the world, foreskin is the norm. But for a such a small piece of skin, foreskin sure carries a lot of baggage. There are all kinds of debate about whether a cut or uncut penis is cleaner, sexier or more attractive.

And you know what? We aren’t taking sides. Two sexy people who are attracted to each other should be able to have a great time, whether there’s a foreskin between them or not. Even so, foreskin is pretty fascinating stuff. Here we look at nine nifty things you may not know about it.

It’s Found on 70% of the World’s Penisesforeskin stretch

If you’ve never seen a penis with its own sleeping bag, you might be surprised to learn that most penises come as they were made: all wrapped up. In fact, even in the United States, where most male babies are still circumcised, circumcision rates are dropping as public opinion about circumcision shifts.

It’s a Built-In Masturbation Sleeve

All penises are unique (and awesome!), but if there’s one thing to know about foreskins it’s that it can make hand jobs a lot easier. By moving back and forth with the hand, foreskin provides protection, lubrication and extra stimulation all at the same time. Neat, huh? (Learn more in Sex and Circumcision: a Lady’s Guide.)

It’s More Than Just Skin

Foreskin is actually a unique kind of skin that’s more like an eyelid than the skin on the rest of the body. Foreskin also contains stem cells. As a result, foreskins have been used to cultivate skin and skin byproducts for skin creams, burn victims and cosmetic testing. Interesting. Although I’d much rather encounter foreskin on a familiar penis than rub a stranger’s foreskin all over my face.

foreskin31It Can Impact Female Pleasure

Most people who’ve had partners with both circumcised and uncircumcised penises will tell you that the partner matters more than the penis. However, foreskin does have some functionality in terms of female pleasure. Because the foreskin cuts down on friction, it can mean easier penetration and smoother glide, which can mean longer, more comfortable play, even without lube. (Although most people recommend that you use some anyway. Slippery is better!) The foreskin is also believed to bunch up and provide a little extra clitoral stimulation, which is never a bad thing.

Dildos Are Going Uncut Too

Whether you are into the feel or just the look of an uncut penis, that experience has typically been notoriously hard to come by in a dildo. Fortunately, there are some amazing uncut dildos out there. Some even have moving foreskin!

It Needs to Be Treated a Bit Differentlyforeskin

There’s always a learning curve to getting to know a new partner, but there are few things to know about working with an uncircumcised penis. The first is that because the head of the penis is covered most of the time, it tends to be a lot more sensitive. So go easy! The other is that when using a condom, it’s important to roll back the foreskin before putting it on. This helps prevent extra movement in the foreskin from stretching at the condom, increasing the chances that it will break.

Having Foreskin May Have Health Risks

Research by the World Health Organization suggests that men with intact foreskin are up to 60% more likely to contract HIV than those who’ve been snipped. This is partly because of the moist environment the foreskin provides, and also because it contains what are known as Langerhans cells, which may be targeted by the HIV virus. That said, more recent studies have disputed this finding.

4-Foreskin-stretchingBut So Might Removing It

There are several studies that suggest that circumcision affects sexual function. They’ve found that uncircumcised men have reduced penile sensitivity, penile temperature and sexual response. That said, other studies found that circumcision had no adverse effect on sexual function. In other words, the jury is still out on this one. That’s no surprise. Sexual pleasure is a complicated thing that extends well beyond anatomy.

Females Have Foreskin Too

Not to be left out of the fun, females have foreskins too. It’s called the clitoral hood. They both evolve from the same tissue in the womb.

Complete Article HERE!

BDSM Versus the DSM

A history of the fight that got kink de-classified as mental illness

A history of the fight that got kink de-classified as mental illness

By Merissa Nathan Gerson

Asking your partner to tie you to the bedpost, telling them to slap you hard in the throes of lovemaking, dressing like a woman if you are a man, admitting a fetish for feet: Just a few years ago, any of these acts could be used against you in family court.

This was the case until 2010, when the American Psychiatric Association announced that it would be changing the diagnostic codes for BDSM, fetishism, and transvestic fetishism (a variant of cross-dressing) in the next edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published in 2013. The new definitions marked a distinction between behavior—for example, playing rough—and actual pathology. Consenting adults were no longer deemed mentally ill for choosing sexual behavior outside the mainstream.

The change was the result of a massive effort from the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), an advocacy group founded in 1997 “to advance the rights of and advocate for consenting adults in the BDSM-Leather-Fetish, Swing, and Polyamory Communities.” At the time, these types of sexual behavior, by virtue of their inclusion in the DSM, were considered markers of mental illness—and, as a result, were heavily stigmatized, often with legal repercussions. In family court, an interest in BDSM was used as justification to remove people’s children from their custody.

“We were seeing the DSM used as a weapon,” says Race Bannon, an NCSF Board Member and the creator of Kink-Aware Professionals, a roster of safe and non-judgmental healthcare professionals for the BDSM and kink community. (The list is now maintained by the NCSF.) “Fifty Shades [of Grey] had not come along,” says Bannon, an early activist in the campaign to change the DSM. “[Kink] was still this dark and secret thing people did.”

Since its first edition was published in 1952, the DSM has often posed a problem for anyone whose sexual preferences fell outside the mainstream. Homosexuality, for example, was considered a mental illness—a “sociopathic personality disturbance”—until the APA changed the language in 1973. More broadly, the DSM section on paraphilias (a blanket term for any kind of unusual sexual interest), then termed “sexual deviations,” attempted to codify all sexual preferences considered harmful to the self or others—a line that, as one can imagine, is tricky in the BDSM community.

The effort to de-classify kink as a psychiatric disorder began in 1980s Los Angeles with Bannon and his then-partner, Guy Baldwin, a therapist who worked mostly with the gay and alternative sexualities communities. Bannon, a self-described “community organizer, activist, writer, and advocate” moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and soon became close with Baldwin through their mutual involvement as open participants in and advocates for the kink community. “I’m fairly confident that I was the first licensed mental-health practitioner anywhere who was out about being a practicing sadomasochist,” Baldwin says.

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The pair was spurred to action after the 1987 edition of the DSM-III-R, which introduced the concept of paraphilias, changed the classifications for BDSM and kink from “sexual deviation” to actual disorders defined by two diagnostic criteria. To be considered a mental illness, the first qualification was: ‘‘Over a period of at least six months, recurrent, intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies involving the act (real, not simulated) of being humiliated, beaten, bound, or otherwise made to suffer.’’ The second: ‘‘The person has acted on these urges, or is markedly distressed by them.’’

“1987 was a bad shift,” Wright recalls. “Anyone who was [voluntarily] humiliated, beaten, bound, or any other alternate sexual expression was considered mentally ill.”

With the new language, Baldwin says, he quickly realized that laws regarding alternative sexual behavior would continue to be problematic “as long as the psychiatric community defines these behaviors as pathological.”

“I knew there were therapists around the world diagnosing practicing consensual sadomasochists with mental illness,” he says.

At the time that the new DSM was published, Baldwin and Bannon were planning to attend the 1987 march on Washington, D.C., in support of gay rights; after the new criteria came out, they decided to host a panel discussion for mental-health professionals in the State Department auditorium, where they announced the launch of what would come to be known as “The DSM Revision Project.”

“We asked how many people in the room were mental-health professionals,” Baldwin says, and “two-thirds of the people in the room raised their hands. And we said, ‘The way this needs to happen is, licensed mental-health practitioners need to write the DSM committee that reviews the language of the DSM concerned with paraphilias.’”

Around 40 or 50 people left the session with the information needed to write the letters. “We did not know exactly what would result,” Bannon recalls. “We did not think we would see dramatic changes suddenly.”

They didn’t—but the changes they did see were positive. The next edition of the DSM, published in 1994, added that to be considered part of a mental illness, “fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors” must “cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”

“This was a definite improvement from the DSM-III-R,” says Wright, who later took over leadership of the DSM Revision Project from Bannon and Baldwin.

“These criteria gave [health professionals] wiggle room to say, ‘They have issues, but it is not about their kink. For the vast majority, it is just the way they have sex,’” Bannon explains. “Rather than saying, ‘Because you are into this method of sexuality, you are sick,’ [they could say], ‘Pathologically, if this impacts your life negatively, then you have a problem.’”

But the new language in the 1994 DSM also allowed for wiggle room of a different kind: The threshold of “significant distress” was often loosely interpreted, with the social stigma of kink, rather than kink itself, causing the negative impact on people’s lives. Workplace discrimination and violence were on the rise, according to a 2008 NCSF survey, and people were still being declared unfit parents as a result of their sexual preferences: Eighty of the 100 people who turned to the NCSF for legal assistance in custody battles from 1997-2010 lost their cases.

A few years after the 1994 DSM was published, Wright decided it was time to fight for another revision. When she founded the organization in 1997, the NCSF’s goal was a change to the APA’s diagnostic codes that separated the behavior (e.g., “he likes to restrict his breathing during sex”) from the diagnosis (e.g., “his desire to restrict his breath means that he must be mentally ill”). The next DSM, the group argued, should split the paraphilias from the paraphilic disorders, so that simply enjoying consensual BDSM would not be considered indicative of an illness.

Their efforts were largely ignored by the APA until early 2009, when Wright attended a panel discussion at New York City’s Philosophy Center on why people practice BDSM. Among the panelists was psychiatrist Richard Krueger, whose expertise included the diagnosis and treatment of paraphilias and sexual disorders.

During the meeting, Wright says, “I brought up the point that the DSM manual caused harm to BDSM people because it perpetuated the stigma that we were mentally ill. [Krueger] heard me and said that was not what they intended with the DSM.” Krueger, it turned out, was on the APA’s paraphilias committee, and following the meeting opened up an email dialogue between Wright and the other committee members, in which Wright provided documentation about the violence and discrimination kinky people experienced. “I credited that to the DSM,” she says. “Courts used it. Therapists used it. And it was being misinterpreted.”

Over the next year, “I sent him information, he gave it to the group, they asked questions, and I responded. It was very productive,” Wright recalls. “We [the NCSF] felt we were heard, we were listened to—and they took [our arguments] into account when they changed the wording” of the DSM in 2010.

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Another major factor in the NCSF’s favor was a paper, co-written by sexual-medicine physician Charles Moser and sexologist Peggy J. Kleinplatz and published in 2006 in the Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, titled “DSM IV-TR and the Paraphilias: An Argument for Removal.” According to Wright, the paper, which “summed up opinions of mental-health professionals who thought you shouldn’t include sexual activity in the DSM,” played a significant role in the paraphilia committee’s eventual shift in language.

In February 2010 the proposed change was made public—clarifying, Wright says, that “the mental illness [depends on] how it is expressed, not the behavior itself.” The new guidelines drew a clear difference, in other words, between people expressing a healthy range of human sexuality (for example, a couple that likes to experiment, consensually, with whips, chains, and dungeons) and sadists who wish others genuine harm (for example, tying and whipping someone in a basement without their consent).

The DSM-5 was released in May 2013, its contents marking a victory for the NCSF, Bannon, and Baldwin. The final language states: “A paraphilia is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for having a paraphilic disorder, and a paraphilia by itself does not necessarily justify or require clinical intervention.”

“Now we are seeing a sharp drop in people having their children removed from their custody,” Wright explains. Since the change, according to the NCSF, less than 10 percent of people who sought the organization’s help in custody cases have had their children removed, and the number of discrimination cases has dropped from more than 600 in 2002 to 500 in 2010 to around 200 over the last year.

“The APA basically came out and said, ‘These people are mentally healthy,’” Wright says. “‘It’s had a direct impact on society.”

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